What Is a CAT 6 Coupler?

Paul Scott
Paul Scott
Cat 5 cable with RJ45 plug.
Cat 5 cable with RJ45 plug.

A CAT 6 coupler is a connection device used to join two lengths of CAT 6 cable. CAT 6, or category 6, cable is a high-fidelity, twisted pair cable extensively used in data network installations. The cable consists of four twisted pairs of solid or stranded wires, and is generally not shielded and almost always terminated with modular RJ45 plugs. To accommodate joints in these cables, the CAT 6 coupler features two back-to-back RJ45 sockets interconnected with each other according to prevailing wiring scheme standards, and enclosed in a metal or plastic case. To use the coupler, one end of each CAT 6 cable is simply plugged into the sockets on either side of the coupler thus ensuring continuity between the two.

CAT 6 cable is one of the latest standards in high-fidelity data transfer cabling. Consisting of four pairs of twisted cores, the cable is engineered to significantly reduce cross talk and interference. These characteristics allow CAT 6 cables to be used in installations capable of performance up to 250 megahertz (MHz), such as Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, and 10-Gigabit Ethernet systems. The cable is generally unshielded and terminated with RJ45 modular plugs. When these cables require joining, particularly the patch cables running from wall outlets to individual computers, a CAT 6 coupler is typically used.

These couplers are fairly simple, in-line devices consisting of two RJ45 sockets contained in a case of plastic or light-gauge metal. The sockets are located in a back-to-back configuration and are interconnected according to relevant wiring scheme standards using wire jumpers or printed circuit boards (PCBs). The complete coupler is thus relatively sleek and able to fit into existing cable trunking or pass through cable ports in desks or cubicle walls. Some CAT 6 coupler variants may also include passive components designed to further suppress system noise.

Using a CAT 6 coupler is quick and simple. The plugs on the ends of the two cables in question are simply inserted into the sockets on either side of the coupler. The interconnected sockets then ensure continuity of the cable. Some CAT 6 coupler models are also keystone compliant featuring standard plastic clip tabs on the sides of the casing. The keystone system is a family of patch products consisting of wall plates equipped with standardized, square cut-outs. Corresponding sockets of various designs, including CAT 6 couplers, are then simply clipped into the wall plate in readiness for connection to network feed cables.

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    • Cat 5 cable with RJ45 plug.
      Cat 5 cable with RJ45 plug.